“...we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul...” Hebrews 6:18-19
These past two weeks, I have been reading and hearing quite a lot about ‘peace.’ This has not been an intentional decision on my part but the topic of ‘peace’ keeps popping up in my daily readings, the books I’m reading or the podcasts I regularly listen to. It seems that our Father is trying to implant something into my mind and heart.
The attacks in Boston this week have once again given us reason for pause and mourning on the state of our world. On our side of the globe, North Korea continues to choose antagonism over reconciliation. The H7N9 bird flu virus is making people nervous about a possible outbreak here in Shanghai. Personally, life is full of joy but continues to be a whirlwind of job responsibilities, graduate school work, and copious amounts of planning for travel and three weddings (more later!) in the year ahead.
It is easy to become overwhelmed by all the craziness and move toward feelings of worry, anxiety or fear. But this week, He extends the invitation to instead move toward finding rest in him, the only immovable and unchangeable one, in whom we have a “sure and steadfast anchor” for our souls. He welcomes us to take hold of his “shalom”, restoration, wholeness, peace:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Since the last newsletter, my coworkers and I have been busy planning our education and health development projects for next fiscal year. It is an exciting time for us at CWEF, as we have recently changed our organizational structure in China to make it possible for us to work in more efficient and effective ways. As director of operations, I am now working very closely with our administrative director Li Ying and our programs director Liu Li (“Dolphin”) to put more focused structures and systems into place that will make it possible for us to partner with more communities and schools, and to improve more lives in these places by building up the capacity of our local partners.
We have also been blessed in the past few months to deepen relationships with our current donor organizations, and to enter into encouraging relationships with new donors and program partners. One of these is Air Products, a large gas and chemicals company, whom CWEF was brought into contact with through a connection at Concordia International School Shanghai. Air Products is funding the Shanghai pilot of our REACH student development program, and we are pleased to also have the chance to take several teams of Air Products staff out to the middle school this semester for some special volunteer activities.
她说了”我愿意” SHE SAID "YES!"
Of course, the real news in my life is that I am now engaged to marry my girlfriend of 2 years, Coco Yang Wei (杨蔚). Coco is a native of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, which is a 3-4 hour drive from Shanghai. After college in China, Coco completed a master’s degree in the UK before returning to Shanghai to work at one of the English-language television stations, but is now working with the Shanghai office of Roots & Shoots, an international NGO founded by primatologist Jane Goodall. She is an amazing woman and I am very grateful to call her my fiance. Please remember us in your prayers as we prepare for three wedding celebrations (Shanghai, Yangzhou, California) later this year.